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BBC’s Suzi Perry in car maintenance drive

Formula One presenter Suzi Perry fronts campaign to give women the tools they need to look after their cars.

The awareness initiative is in response to an IMI (Institute of the Motor Industry) survey of 1,000 women car owners revealing that one in five (22%) are reluctant to deal with garages because they were not comfortable with the atmosphere.

More than a third admitted to knowing nothing about cars and being totally reliant on garage for guidance.

Many women drivers are also not able to care for their cars properly because they don’t know how to choose a garage or technician they can trust.

The IMI has produced a series of empowerment videos, featuring registered technician Vicky Kempton and the BBC’s Suzi Perry.

The producers are confident that their message will spread quickly as research shows that women are much more likely to share useful information on social media than men are.

The IMI research also showed that:

  • a quarter of women drivers admit to never having their car serviced by a professional mechanic. They only deal with problems when they show up on the MOT
  • many didn’t know what they were being charged for in a garage and wouldn’t know how to challenge a bill if they felt it was wrong
  • 17% of women said they felt they had been overcharged in the past
  • 28% also said they were nervous about asking technical questions
  • 31% said they were confused by the jargon used by the trade

Finally, when it came to choosing a garage in an emergency, most said that without knowing the difference between a professional and a rogue trader, they simply went for the closest available and trusted to luck.

IMI CEO Steve Nash said “there is a massive knowledge gap between the professional and the customer in this industry”.

He added: “Women drivers clearly feel they are in a precarious position as consumers in the motor industry and it’s all about trust.”

Steph Savill, founder of FOXY Lady Drivers Club (the UK’s only motoring association for women) said: “We recommend that women get their cars serviced once a year at least, choosing the most suitable regime based on annual mileage.

“This makes financial sense because regularly serviced vehicles are less likely to let them down and often sell at a premium.

“But I worry that 60% of women drivers aren’t members of an emergency recovery service, putting themselves and often children at risk in case of a breakdown, especially if they are scrimping on garage servicing.”

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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